The Uses of Color On Screen by Freia Serafina

We have to thank a woman named Natalie M. Kalmus for her contributions to the development of color on screen. Being a woman and the executive head of the Technicolor art department in the 1930’s was nothing short of extraordinary, and, in 1935 she released a document titled Color Consciousness in which she explored color theory and the use of color on screen. And, while this was illuminating and groundbreaking at a time, we also have some serious problems with the document that need to be re-examined from an anti-racist and feminist perspective.

Kalmus tells us how and when to use color given that particular color’s moral and psychological associations. She tells us that different colors evoke emotional reactions from the audience because these colors paint a realistic worldview. This presents a problem because, if, as Kalmus suggests, the usage of color and its associations represent a realistic worldview then the worldview Kalmus presents is an inherently racist one. Kalmus writes that black “… has a distinctly negative and destructive aspect. Black instinctively recalls night, fear, darkness, crime. It suggests funerals, mourning. It is impenetrable, comfortless, secretive.” In stark contrast to the color black, Kalmus writes that white “… reflects the greatest amount of light, it emanates a luminosity which symbolizes spirit. White represents purity, cleanliness, peace, marriage… White uplifts and ennobles, while black lowers and renders more base and evil any color.” To put it simply: black is evil and white is good. What does any of this have to do with spirituality? Well, the way we think and feel about color and how characters are depicted on screen taps into our psychological understanding of how “good” or “bad” a color is. This trickles over into our magical and spiritual practices with the notions of “Black Magic” vs. “White Magic.”  We often associate someone who practices black magic as someone who works with dark or evil forces, and white magic with someone who practices magic for the good of others.

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Sleeping Beauty: An ancient tale for these challenging times by Diane Perazzo

Fairy tales are intwined in our imagination and our spirituality. As Jane Yolan writes, one of the subtlest and yet most important functions of myth and fantasy is to “provide a framework or model for an individual’s belief system.” (1)

In the Reclaiming spiritual tradition, we often use fairy tales in healing and self development work. These stories act as warp and weft as we weave and spin complex ritual arcs and other events that take place at extended Witch Camp sessions. In Twelve Wild Swans, Starhawk points out that fairy stories are “more than just encouraging and inspiring. They are also templates for soul healing from Europe’s ancestral wise women and healers. When the ancient Earth-based cultures of Europe were destroyed, these stories remained.” (2)

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Updating our Fairy Tales by Anjeanette LeBoeuf


The rising voices of female empowerment, consciousness, and position has been an undertaking in the last two centuries. Yet societies are still using fairy tales; tales that were written at least 500 years ago. Many of the fairy tales can be read in a 21st Feminism lens as being harmful and products of a patriarchal society. The movement can only gain more strength and momentum if we start from the ground up – reworking the stories, fables, and myths we teach our children, we make into movies, and that children want to dress up as.

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